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In the summer of 2006, The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a story about a driving school in Tijuana and got some complaints from readers. Their complaint, in essence, was this: Why should we care about Tijuana?

Gina Lubrano, then the newspaper’s reader’s representative, addressed the subject in a July 17 column. She described a border team of five reporters.

Two now remain, one covering Tijuana (Sandra Dibble) and the other covering immigration (Leslie Berestein). (For my story today, the newspaper’s spokesman would not say whether any of the reporters who accepted buyouts will be replaced or whether those beats will disappear.)

In the column, Lubrano described the coverage as vital to giving readers a complete view of the region. She wrote:

Given these complaints, why does the Union-Tribune devote precious staff resources and finite space to covering Tijuana? In short, those protesters do not speak for all readers, some of whom have strong ties to Tijuana and Mexico.

“Tijuana is part of what defines this region,” said John Cannon, the assistant metro editor in charge of border coverage. …

Cannon, who supervises the border team of five reporters, four of them fluent Spanish speakers, points out that the goal of the Union-Tribune is to provide the most comprehensive news reports possible.

“If we ignored a city of more than 1 million people that abuts San Diego County, readers would have an incomplete view of issues that affect their lives,” he said.

ROB DAVIS

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